(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.)
Calendar No. 437
107th Congress Report
2d Session 107-172
GUAM WAR CLAIMS REVIEW COMMISSION ACT
June 24, 2002.--Ordered to be printed
Mr. Bingaman, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 308]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 308) to establish the Guam War Claims
Review Commission, having considered the same, reports
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the Act
The purpose of H.R. 308 is to establish a Federal
commission to determine whether there was parity between the
war claims paid to residents of Guam compared with those paid
to similarly affected United States citizens or nationals in
other areas occupied by Japanese military forces during World
War II, and to advise Congress whether additional compensation
may be necessary.
BACKGROUND AND NEED
On December 8, 1941, military forces of the Empire of Japan
invaded Guam and seized control of the island. At the time,
Guam was an unincorporated territory of the United States
administered by the United States Navy. Its 22,000 residents
were United States nationals. The residents of Guam suffered
personal injury, forced labor, forced marches, internment, and
executions. Yet they remained loyal to the United States and
risked their lives to support the allied war effort.
Efforts to compensate the residents of Guam for their
suffering began shortly after the end of hostilities. The Guam
Meritorious Claims Act of November 15, 1945 authorized the
Secretary of the Navy to appoint a claims commission to pay war
claims not in excess of $5,000. The commission had to forward
claims in excess of $5,000 to Congress, which had to approve
them. The Act required claims to be filed within one year. The
short time frame for filing claims may have prevented deserving
claimants from receiving compensation.
In 1947, the Secretary of the Navy sent a commission headed
by Ernest M. Hopkins to assess the war claims payment situation
on Guam, among other things. The Hopkins commission recommended
that new legislation be enacted to provide for the payment of
claims up to $10,000, but no action was taken on the
The War Claims Act of 1948 provided compensation for
``civilian American citizens'' captured on Guam or any other
territory or possession of the United States attacked or
invaded by Japan. It did not, however, provide compensation for
the residents of Guam, who were United States nationals, but
not ``American citizens,'' prior to 1950. Congress amended the
War Claims Act in 1962 to extend compensation to United States
nationals for property loss, but specifically excluded claims
for property located on the island of Guam.
In view of the patchwork of war claims laws, which provided
different treatment for different groups of persons at
different times, H.R. 308 is needed to examine whether the
relief provided to the residents of Guam was on a par with that
provided to similarly affected United States citizens or
nationals in other areas occupied by the military forces of the
Empire of Japan.
H.R. 308 was introduced by Representative Underwood on
January 30, 2001 and referred to the House Committee on
Resources. The House of Representatives passed the bill by
voice vote on March 13, 2001.
During the 106th Congress, the House of Representatives
passed a similar measure, H.R. 755. It was referred to the
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in the Senate. A
similar measure, S. 524, which was introduced by Senator
Inouye, was referred to the Committee on Judiciary. No further
action was taken on either H.R. 755 or S. 524.
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a
hearing on H.R. 308 on July 27, 2001. The Committee considered
H.R. 308 at its business meeting on June 5, 2002, and ordered
the bill favorably reported.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in
open business session on June 5, 2002, by a voice vote of a
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 308
Section 1 provides a short title.
Section 2 establishes the Guam War Claims Review Commission
and provides for the appointment and compensation of its
Section 3 authorizes the Commission to appoint an executive
director and other employees. In accordance with section 3161
of title 5, United States Code, the executive director and
other employees are in the excepted service of the civil
Section 4 directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide
the Commission with administrative support services on a
Section 5 prescribes the duties of the Commission.
Section 6(a) authorizes the Chairman of the Commission to
exercise its executive and administrative powers and to
delegate such powers to the Commission's staff.
Section 6(b) authorizes the Commission to hold hearings and
administer oaths and affirmations.
Section 6(c) authorizes the Commission to procure the
temporary and intermittent services of experts and consultants.
Section 6(d) authorizes the head of any Federal department
or agency to provide support to the Commission in carrying out
Section 7 provides that the Commission will terminate 30
days after it submits its report to Congress.
Section 8 authorizes $500,000 to be appropriated to carry
out the Act.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of the costs of this measure has
been provided by the Congressional Budget Office:
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, June 14, 2002.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 308, the Guam War
Claims Review Commission Act.
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew
Barry B. Anderson
(For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
H.R. 308--Guam War Claims Review Commission Act
H.R. 308 would establish the Guam War Claims Review
Commission to consider restitution for those individuals who
resided on the island of Guam, a territory of the United
States, during its occupation by the Japanese in World War II.
Under H.R. 308, the five commission members would establish
eligibility requirements, determine the number of individuals
who meet such requirements, and estimate the total amount that
would be necessary to adequately compensate them for damages
suffered during Japan's occupation. The commission would have
nine months to report its findings to the Congress. To fund the
costs of the commission, the act would authorize the
appropriation of $500,000.
Assuming appropriation of the authorized amount, CBO
estimates that implementing H.R. 308 would cost $500,000 in
fiscal year 2003. Because the act would not affect direct
spending or receipts, pay-as-you-go procedures would not apply.
The act does not authorize the payment of restitution; such
authority would require a separate act of the Congress. H.R.
308 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and would have no
significant impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal
The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Matthew
Pickford. This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine,
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION
In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in
carrying out H.R. 308.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
Any additional personal information (other than information
already available in existing archives) will be collected on a
voluntary basis. Therefore, there should be no adverse impact
on personal privacy.
Little, if any additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 308.
On July 25, 2001, the Committee on Energy and Natural
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting
forth executive views on H.R. 308. These reports have not been
received at the time the report was filed. The testimony
provided by the Department of the Interior at the Committee
Statement of Christopher Kearney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
and International Affairs, Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, it is a pleasure
for me to appear before you today to discuss the
Administration's views on H.R. 308--the Guam War Claims Review
H.R. 308--GUAM WAR CLAIMS REVIEW COMMISSION ACT
H.R. 308, the Guam War Claims Review Commission Act, would
establish a five-member commission to: (1) Examine whether or
not Guam War Claims compensation paid to residents of Guam was
on parity with compensation provided to United States citizens
or nationals in territory occupied by the Imperial Japanese
military forces during World War II, (2) advise on additional
compensation for the people of Guam, and (3) submit a report,
including comments and recommendations, within nine months to
the Secretary of the Interior and relevant congressional
Hours after December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the
Japanese attacked and captured Guam. The Japanese were in full
control of Guam until 1944. The people of Guam suffered during
the occupation. Yet, they remained loyal to the United States,
often risking their own personal safety to aid the American war
effort and American military personnel left on the island.
In recognition of the suffering of these United States
nationals, the first war claims act passed by the Congress was
for Guam. It was called the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of
November 11, 1945. It authorized the formation of a claims
commission to make payments not to exceed $5,000 for damage,
loss or destruction of public or private property resulting
from hostilities or hostile occupation or non-combat activities
of United States armed forces or civilian personnel. If a claim
exceeded $5,000 or was for death or personal injury, it was to
be forwarded to the Congress for payment out of appropriations.
In early 1947, a delegation headed by Ernest M. Hopkins was
sent by Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal to assess the
war claims payment situation on Guam, which was administered at
the time by the Navy. The March 25, 1947 Hopkins delegation
The Guamanian people rendered heroic service to the
Nation in the recent war and displayed great courage,
fortitude and loyalty. Such services, equivalent to
service on the field of battle, should be recognized
both collectively and in specific cases, individually.
The Hopkins delegation called for legislation to pay all
claims ``on the spot'' in Guam, including death and personal
injury, and raising the limit to $10,000. The Hopkins authors
also recommended further relief for any person who had
voluntarily reduced his claim to $5,000. No action was taken on
the Hopkins report.
A year later, the Congress passed the War Claims Act of
1948. Among other provisions was one to compensate ``civilian
American citizens'' who were captured at Midway, Guam, Wake
Island, the Philippine Islands, or any territory or possession
of the United States attacked or invaded by the Imperial
Japanese Government. Payments were made to persons who were
interned by the Japanese and to widows and children of persons
who died in internment. Virtually all the residents of Guam
were ``nationals'' of the United States at that time, but not
``citizens.'' Thus, the 1948 Act did not apply to most World
War II residents of Guam.
The 1962 amendment to the War Claims Act of 1948 provided
for payments to ``nationals of the United States'' for loss,
destruction, or damage to property ``except the Island of
Guam.'' The 1962 amendments did not compensate for death or
personal injury, except on the high seas.
What we have here is a patchwork of war claims laws
focusing on differing groups of persons at differing times with
relief for differing categories of suffering.
The Administration supports H.R. 308, with a change that I
will address shortly.
We believe that the central reason for this legislation is
reflected in item (4) of section 5 of the bill. Item (4) calls
for a commission to determine whether or not there was parity
of war claims paid to residents of Guam as compared with awards
paid to other similarly affected United States citizens or
nationals in territory occupied by the Imperial Japanese
military forces during World War II. Examination of the history
of war claims payments is warranted given questions involving
the administration of the Guam Meritorious Claims Act and
subsequent claims acts. By examining the payments under the
various acts, the commission will be able to determine how
claimants on Guam fared vis-a-vis United States citizens and
other nationals with regard to different categories of
suffering and deprivation for which awards were made.
I would now like to turn to item (5) of section 5, the one
key area of concern we have with the bill. The term ``people of
Guam'' and the listing of categories in item (5) would
introduce new language not included in existing World War II
war claims acts. Moreover, item (5) is redundant of item (6),
which directs the commission to issue a report, ``including any
comments and recommendations for action.'' If the commission
believes that ``additional compensation'' should be paid, based
on analysis of the World War II war claims laws and information
from Guam, it can include such a recommendation in its report.
The Administration, therefore, suggests that item (5) of
section 5 of H.R. 308 be removed from the bill.
CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW
In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no
changes in existing law are made by H.R. 308 as ordered